1956 Second Steinway Hall Closed Class
Joel S. Goldsmith
152A – Nature of God As Love
I knew it, I shouldn’t have been invited here tonight— you should have included me out. I really don’t belong here. I’m in one of those strange moods, and I don’t know where I’m going or why, but I know I can start with this: Since God is the only Selfhood, and there is no personal self, why does The Infinite Way stress humanhood to such an extent?
Now I wonder who said that there is no personal self. I wonder if there’s anybody who really believes there is no personal self, or is it that you think that in The Infinite Way writings, it says there is no personal self?
To begin with, The Infinite Way writings make it very clear that the only reason there is such a thing as an Infinite Way teaching is that we may die daily to the personal self. If there is a major point, it is certainly that … that the divine self of our being is the reality, and is our function in life to return to that. The whole of The Infinite Way says that there was an experience that is called Adam and Eve’s fall, the fall of man, or the prodigal son, that resulted in a sense of selfhood apart from God.
On almost every page of The Infinite Way writings, it says that there is only one reason for discords, and that is that a sense of separation from our God-self has sprung up. And so it is that the reason The Infinite Way teaching stresses humanhood is that it is our humanhood that has brought us together into this room. It is our humanhood that has brought us into every classroom where spiritual teachings are, because our human selfhood has gotten us into such troubles. Why else do we have lack or limitation? Why do we have sin and sinful desires? Why do we have disease and wars … to glorify our God-self? Heaven forbid.
It is all a part of the human self that must be put off, the human self that must die daily. You see there is such a thing as God being, but are we demonstrating it? Are we showing it forth to the world? Would God-self show it forth to the world in wars, famine? Do you think it’s the God-self of us that is withholding rice and other foods from India and China? Do you think it’s the God-self of us that is battling in Israel and the Arabs? Do you think it’s the God-self of us that is battling the question down south of white supremacy and Negro inferiority? Do you think it’s the God-self of us that has taken our original American Indians and stuck them away in reservations to die of malnutrition? Why heavens no.
It is the vilest qualities of humanhood that compel us as humans, as nations, to act as we do toward each other. Is it our spiritual selfhood that burnt up Hebrews, Jewish people in Germany? Is it the demonstration of our spiritual selfhood that is now battling between communism and capitalism or in our own land, between unions and corporations? No, the reason that The Infinite Way stresses humanhood is that it stresses the need to overcome humanhood, the qualities of humanhood.
As a matter of fact, it was that very thing that has been giving me a miserable hour before I got here tonight, the reason that I felt this evening that I should’ve been included out, and let you carry on without me. Because it has been so apparent that there are students in this work, even after these three weeks that we’ve had here, who seem to have no more reason for living than, well I don’t know, bookkeepers or accountants.
I suppose they have a reason some way, but I don’t know what it is, because they spend all their life chasing two times two, and making it become four, and the minute the miserable thing gets out of line, they go searching up and down ledgers and pages to make it behave. I don’t know why it makes such a difference whether the profit sheet is eighty cents off, or the loss sheet is sixty cents off. But to an accountant that’s very important. They spend days and nights recovering their measly little two times two, and I can’t see why.
Now I know that there are students here who are physically well. Insofar as their family relationships are concerned, they’re whole and harmonious. And their supply is all right. But even after three weeks, they’re walking around as if there wasn’t a good reason for living, no joy in their faces, no joy shining through their souls, and every time I see it I grieve because it isn’t only that there should be some joy because of these humanly good things that come into our lives, especially when they’ve come in because of our spiritual realization.
But even if there weren’t any reason for rejoicing in the human picture, how can you live in the Bible? How can you live in this Infinite Way literature without finding an inner spring of bubbles? Why it’s like champagne to me. There has got to be a reason for living. There has got to be a reason for going on day after day. It isn’t enough just to eat three meals a day and have a place to sleep at night. It isn’t enough to have television and its horrors, or even the good plays. There has to be an inner reason for living. There has to be some kind of an inner bubbling over, and each one of us has to find it.
Now it can be found in scripture, and it can be found in our Infinite Way writings, because all of that, rightly understood, tends to overcome that humanhood that is so, so overburdened with this four and a quarter that ought to be four.
Now let’s not get into that thing there of being so concerned about the exact letter of truth that we’re afraid to deviate in our language from the way the sentences are formed in our writings or in scripture. Let’s take these statements of truth and rephrase them in our own language.
I’m grateful that The Infinite Way books are written in such a way, not that I consciously had anything to do with it, but they are written in such a way as makes it very difficult to quote them. The Infinite Way writings are really not quotable statements. They’re not statements that lend themselves to just spouting. They’re more or less ideas, which you have to accept and then rephrase according to your own understanding, and I’m glad for that, because if there’s anything hard, it is that same two by two thing that goes around quoting exactly. And then believing that because it has a meaning tied up, boxed up in certain words, that it has meaning.
Let’s not do that. Let’s twist that Bible upside down. I know there are some ministers who’ve complained that I’ve rewritten the Bible. I really haven’t, but just taking those statements out and gotten some meaning from them that are applicable to our human existence, and help us really, to overcome human existence and learn about a divine existence.
And so it is, life is never a joyous thing while we live boxed in. The first horror that is presented to us is the fact that in our ordinary life, we are boxed into a body. And all we’re conscious of is the body from the toes up to the head, and its pains and aches and pleasures. You’d think that we were really living inside of this tomb that other people call a body. It isn’t a body, it’s a tomb if you’re living inside of it. It’s only a body if you’re outside, using it as an instrument. But when you’re inside in there, looking around at every corner of it, and finding aches and pains and pleasures, it’s a tomb.
But get outside of it, and just use it like you would an automobile; jump in when you want to go somewhere, but jump out when you get there. Then you’ll find that the body doesn’t intrude itself into your experience. And it’s the same with those dollar bills. Every one of us ought to enjoy as many of them as we’ve got, or as few, but not live inside of them as if they made life. They don’t make life. God constitutes our life, and He gives us some dollar bills to play with. But you take them too seriously, and the first thing you know you get to that checking-in place, the Probation Court there, that waits at the end of everybody’s life, and you have to check-in all those valuables you’ve been playing marbles with.